A political action committee is targeting a number of Republican members of the Missouri House of Representatives who voted against right to work (RTW) back in September, thus upholding Governor Jay Nixon’s veto of the legislation. Pat Martin wrote about this in his most recent Leader editorial. Four of the singled-out representatives are from Jefferson County:
- Becky Ruth (114th district, Festus)
- Elaine Gannon (115th, De Soto)
- John McCaherty (97th, High Ridge)
- Shane Roden (111th, Cedar Hill)
The override vote fell 13 short of the necessary 109 votes. For that reason, it seems like a hopeless effort to try to swing enough representatives to enact RTW over a gubernatorial veto. Best to focus on winning the governor’s race this year and electing someone (like, say, Eric Greitens) who will sign a RTW bill into law. RTW has enough votes to pass the legislature, but not enough to override a veto.
There were some rumblings in September that some JeffCo reps were open to switching their votes on RTW, and in fact, one did. Rep. Dan Shaul (113th, Imperial), who voted no on the original bill, voted yes on the override. One argument in favor of passing RTW now is that it would take the issue off of the table for the 2016 Missouri elections, possibly reducing outside union interest in the state and increasing the chances for Republicans to defeat the Democratic candidate for governor, Attorney General Chris Koster (something that I presume all of the anti-RTW Republican legislators want to do).
There will be a few tests of how much power unions still have in JeffCo in the 2016 election. Rep. Rob Vescovo (R, 112th, Arnold) will face a rematch against Democrat Robert Butler, who will be sure to make RTW an issue. Shaul will also have to defend his vote in his race against perennial Democrat candidate Mike Evans. Roden has already attracted a primary challenger in Jason Jarvis (a rematch of the 2014 primary). Jarvis has come out in favor of right to work. I know of no primary challengers to Ruth, Gannon, or McCaherty at this time. The anti-RTW candidates will have union contributions to assist them. Even before these votes, unions have been contributing to JeffCo Republicans (that is the focus of the advertisements targeting anti-RTW Republicans). But before the election, we can expect another round or two of RTW votes in this year’s legislative session.